Knowing Rolls-Royce, however many new heavyset Cullinan SUVs it manages to sell, no two will ever emerge from the Goodwood factory looking exactly alike. The possibilities – even without getting the ‘Bespoke’ department involved – are basically …
I am taken aback by the Christian readers who think that my speculations this week about Michael Pollan, psychedelic drugs, and what those drugs might be telling us about the nature of consciousness and reality, amount to me encouraging people to experiment with them.
I do not encourage that at all! I don’t encourage it because I have a strong sense that those drugs put one into a state of consciousness in which one’s psyche is more receptive and vulnerable to spiritual entities and forces that are actually there. I believe Michael Pollan’s interview subjects who said that good things happened to them on their psychedelic trips. I also take seriously this experienced guy, whose final acid trip went very badly:
These spirits looked much like the strange animals and creatures
depicted in occult books and dungeons and dragons monster manuals.
As intense as this was I was not afraid. Instead it was as much
a feeling of incredible power and evil and I could stand and it was exhilerating. It was then that Keely buried herself beneath a blanket and began screaming ‘I can see the demons around you!’ and I laughed. I was breathing them into the room and my friends were sharing this experience. With a tremendous intensity I summoned up a great figure who’s outline I could make out. This figure was standing in a circle and there was a gateway behind it. I could see a three headed dog and other smaller demonic creatures behind the great figure but it was forcing those creatures back through the gateway as they tried to escape into the house.
The figure itself was immensely beautiful. It was so evil yet so compellingly elegant and beautiful. It was wingless but it had horns and I could make out the facial features of its eyes and nose mouth and limbs although they were but an outline.
Pulsing within this great demon were all of the other spirits that combined collectively as a part of him. Where we would have veins and bone and muscle tissue, the angel of darkness had spirits that gleefully flowed throughout his frame. It was extremely intense. As he moved, the spirits that were making up his internals would constantly change form flicking from one shape to the next in an endless display of transformation.
As the monstorous form turned to me I was compelled to one knee. At this point my friends were watching intently. moments later though Keely had to watch off and on because she was so frightened she was trying to shut the site out by closing her eyes. Jon was nowhere to be found. Apparently he had left. The demon turned to me and outstretched his hand and flexed with great might as a display of power. His face flew off toward me and through me and this continued for a split second but it felt like hours. Gradually his form diminished as the ember from the incense stick burned out and the smoke was sucked out up the chimney of the fireplace. One by one each of the spirits traveled their way from where the demon form was standing and flew up the chimney. This was the last time I ever did acid.
It was incredible. It was intense. It has led me to the belief that acid is a gateway drug which can allow you to see into other planes of existance that run in parallel as our own, just at a different speed. I don’t know whether this was a mass visualization (3 people saw it including myself) or just a very intense hallucination from a mega dose of LSD and hash but it doesn’t matter to me. If my mind is capable of being that creative to be able to visualize something that intense (no artist could ever paint this.) I doubt it. I believe it was real. I believe and I will never see things the same way again.
Misspellings in the original. That appeared on the pro-psychedelic site Erowid.org.
Here’s an account from the Sydney Morning Herald about a teenager who had an experience with LSD that caused him nearly to kill himself. Excerpt:
At the fund-raising dinner which his parents are attending, Karl is perplexed when his phone begins to vibrate during a speech. Jasmine also grabs her phone, which is lighting up with messages from five different neighbours asking her to call them immediately. The couple hurriedly excuse themselves before Jasmine calls a trusted friend. “Tom’s all right,” she’s told. “But you need to go straight to the hospital.” On arrival around midnight, they’re greeted by a sight that haunts all parents: their teenage son unconscious in a hospital bed, covered in dried blood, with plastic tubes snaking out of his mouth and nose.
The outlines of this troubling story were sketched by Jasmine, who emailed me after reading a Good Weekend story of mine from June 3, in which I described my own (largely positive) experience with LSD. “LSD is like a monster in our house, sucking all the potential and opportunity out of my beautiful son… as well as creating massive stress for the entire family,” Jasmine wrote. “Let me tell you from my experience (and by the way, I am no LSD virgin), that for our precious kids, LSD is plain playing with fire. They can’t evaluate the high levels of risk versus the perceived mind ‘expanding’ benefits, and they are basically ending up, for want of a better word, completely f…ed.”
I believe that psychedelics ought to be studied for their possible therapeutic use. Pollan, whose book is now #1 on the New York Times list, discusses in depth the promise this class of drugs shows for depressed people, addicts, and others. I also believe that we should seriously consider what these drugs tell us about consciousness. But I also believe it’s playing with fire, and not a risk worth taking in most cases.
I have been reading other philosophical articles about psychedelics and the occult, written not by Christians, but by people who encourage the drugs’ use as a gateway to occult knowledge. I’m not going to post links. One I’ve just read is especially fascinating, because it’s about an academic who studies this stuff, and whose group of writers and academics sees the new interest in psychedelics as heralding a final smash-up of the Enlightenment. Their general model metaphysics and consciousness is surprisingly close to pre-modern Christianity’s … but it is occult. Again, I don’t want to post a link, but the Christianity of a medieval like Dante Alighieri, or of a contemporary Orthodox monk on Mount Athos, has a lot more in common with this way of seeing the world than it does, at least superficially, with average suburban 21st century Christianity.
Except a Dante or a St. Paisios the Athonite would clearly see the demonic element in this philosophy. The piece I just read, with its description of existence as an organic whole, direct experience of God, and so forth — it’s all there in pre-modern Christianity. It’s easy for me to see why bored and restless Westerners who think Christianity is about nothing more than dry propositions and moralism, would turn to psychedelics as spiritual seekers. If that’s you, I strongly encourage you to read The Mountain of Silence, an account of a modern-day Athonite monk who explains Orthodox Christian spirituality to the author, American professor Kyriacos Markides.
Markides is a sociologist of religion. As he writes in the introduction (which you can read on the “Look Inside” feature of that Kindle link), he lost his belief in agnosticism and philosophical materialism through his academic study of shamanistic and esoteric religious figures. He says that he explored Eastern religious traditions for years. He assumed that Christianity was withering away because it ignored the spiritual, mystical aspect of human experience. Then a friend on his native Cyprus told him he should go meet and study the holy men of his native spiritual tradition, Eastern Orthodoxy. Many of the things he found appealing about non-Christian spiritual paths were there preserved in Orthodoxy, from the first millennium of the Christian faith.
It’s an absolutely fascinating book, very readable for the ordinary reader. The lesson I take from it is that the people who turn to psychedelics in search of mystical experience aren’t necessarily wrong to want a non-cerebral encounter with the divine, but they are risking far too much, spiritually and otherwise, to approach it pharmaceutically, and outside the bounds of established Christian tradition. You’ll find in Orthodoxy that the monks who are the most spiritually experienced are very strong in cautioning spiritual beginners not to seek too much, too fast.
I need to find a way to write a book about what Orthodox spirituality offers to seekers after mysticism, as a truthful and holy alternative to the spiritual and mental dangers of these alternative traditions. E-mail me with your ideas. I’ll be thinking hard about this all weekend.
Democratic Republic of Congo (MNN) — It’s not common knowledge, but that doesn’t make it any less true; there’s a crisis in Congo. Bruce Smith of Wycliffe Associates says tensions are rising and people are suffering. “There’s basically …
Is it still possible to get worked up about a Star Wars movie? Three of them have been released in just the last two and a half years, and now—on the 41st anniversary of the very first film’s debut—comes Solo: A Star Wars Story. I don’t think many people are likely to see this picture as a cultural event, or were even hankering for it to be made. It’s basically an old-school Saturday-serial b-movie—which of course is exactly the sort of picture that inspired the whole Star Wars project.
It’s a pretty good b-movie, too. The story is silly, but it’s fun, and so are the effects, especially the ones used to create the several new creatures we see, who are replete with nose hoses and eyeball stalks and all manner of other exotic whatnot. There’s also a really big caterpillar thingy called Lady Proxima, who’s much less gracious than her name might suggest; and lots of galactic action too, naturally.
The movie’s chief pleasure is its solid cast. Alden Ehrenreich, the star, suggests a younger Harrison Ford—the indelible Han Solo of the first three Star Wars movies—without embarrassing himself by trying too hard. This is a considerable achievement. Ehrenreich looks nothing like Ford, but he does manage to project some of the man’s engaging sarcasm and gift for smooth gab, and he contributes his own style of cool, too. Even better is Donald Glover: already a star, he gives the movie’s standout performance, taking over the role of shady gambler Lando Calrissian as if Billy Dee Williams had never inhabited it. And Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke—raven-haired here—is seductively charismatic as Han’s love interest Qi-ra, a mystery woman whose secrets, we can clearly see, will play an important part in future installments of the story—of which it is surely hoped there will be more than one.
The script, by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and his son Jonathan, dutifully checks off a number of required boxes: Where is Han from? (The gloomy planet of Corellia.) Where did he get his zoomy spaceship, the Millennium Falcon? (He won it from Lando in a barroom card game we now get to witness.) And how did he meet his shaggy copilot Chewbacca? (It’s a long story.) What’s missing from the film—but not actually missed—are Jedis, lightsabers, any mention of The Force or glimpse of R2-D2 or C-3PO (although Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO for years, does turn up in a very brief cameo in another role).
The movie is built around a MacGuffin called coaxium—a kind of spaceship fuel that’s in passionate demand by all kinds of disreputable people. In order to lay hands on a large amount of this valuable stuff, Han—at an early point when he’s still an aspiring pilot longing for a spaceship of his own—hooks up with a smuggler named Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his partner Val (Thandie Newton, regrettably under-used). They have been employed by a crime lord named Dryden (Paul Bettany, eccentrically togged out in mutant Armani) to hijack a train filled with coaxium as it barrels through a vast, snowy mountain range. The resulting action sequence is long and quite impressive—a tribute to the skills of the usual army of FX technicians, and to director Ron Howard, too.
As is fairly well-known by now, Solo had a “troubled production.” Original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) were five months into filming when they were summarily dismissed (for the traditional “artistic differences”). In what must have been a certain amount of desperation, Lucasfilm quickly called in director Ron Howard, whose ties to Star Wars overlord George Lucas reach back to American Graffiti. Howard reportedly re-shot a lot of the movie, and the result could have been a stylistic mess. But it isn’t. The production design is uniformly fine throughout, the action is unusually coherent for this sort of too-many-cooks blockbuster, and, most important, the story flows. When the inevitable sequel-tease arrives at the end, you might actually find yourself wondering what could happen next. As you know, we’ll all eventually find out.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In recent years there has been this massive cry for innovation from the shooting community but when something that might qualify as innovative hits the market it often seems to be ignored.
Author’s note: Since I am a heavy handgun shooter, this article is centered on handguns, not rifles.
When I was writing the review on the Grand Power K100 MK12 I got to thinking about how pistols like the Grand Power are ignored by most gun buyers and Glock remains one of the best selling pistols on the market. There seems to be no real rhyme or reason for the abandonment of firearms that are outside the norm other than people being reasonably ingrained in their ways.
You see the same when it comes to accessories that enhance a pistol’s capabilities. All too often things like high output weapon lights and red dot sights are ignored for whatever reason. You will hear objections to these performance enhancing accessories like “Anymore than 200 lumens will blind you if you shine it on a wall” or “The batteries will die and I might get kilt in the streets.”
Funny enough the same objections were made when red dots on rifles started becoming commonplace, I don’t hear any of the same objections when it comes to long gun red dots or high output lights on a rifle. I guess the shooting community just needs to warm up to the idea of innovative accessories that enhance the performance of your gun.
Tell me what your thoughts are on the aforementioned pistol mounted red dots and 600 to 1,000-lumen pistol lights? What are your concerns?
So back to innovation in pistols. I have compiled a short list of firearms that could be considered as innovative that were launched in the last several decades. I tried to limit the time frame to the last several decades and not dive into anything that might be considered historical. Some of the guns on the list are still in production but seem to have rather low sales numbers.
I do want to note that not all of the pistols mentioned below are good firearms, they just had some innovative features.
Steyr M Series:
The Styer M series of pistols arguably laid the groundwork for the Sig P320, Beretta APX, Remington RP, and other pistols that have a removable chassis system. While the M series doesn’t reap the benefits of serializing the chassis, it is removable and can be transferred to another firearm.
So why does the M series not get any love? It is a wonderful pistol by all accounts and is just as reliable as you would expect a modern pistol to be. My guess? Steyr failed to market the pistol properly in America when it was launched in the early 2000’s and never was able to recover. The gun is popular with shooters that I might describe as gun hipsters and saw very limited adoption as a service weapon. Unfortunately, the popularity seems to end there as best as I can tell.
The Medusa M47 was able to shoot over a hundred different cartridges according to Ian and by that respect was rather innovative. How were they able to get such a wide range of calibers? Phillips & Rogers developed a cylinder with small spring loaded fingers that held the cartridges in place.
Ian even gets into the issue as to why innovative guns fail at the 5:11 mark in the above video. Only about 500 of these innovative guns made it into circulation before Phillips & Rogers closed their doors forever. Sadly no one has revived the design and the innovative cylinder died.
Arsenal Firearms Strike One:
While the locking system in the Arsenal Firearms Strike One wasn’t new, it was innovative when applied to a polymer pistol. The unique locking block that was reminiscent of the Bergman action keeps the bore of the pistol extremely low and makes the pistol very flat shooting.
I am not going to harp too much on why the pistol failed on its first go here in the US but will simply say that the importer that had exclusive rights to the Strike One in the USA did an awful job promoting the gun and getting it into gun shops. I have only seen one Strike on in person and that happens to be the gun that I own, that should tell you something.
Now the Strike One design is being revived as the compact Archon Firearms Type B to be released later this year. Archon also plans to offer a full-size gun that is more reminiscent of the original Strike One pistol as a Type A at some point, but no word as to when that might happen.
Heckler Koch VP70:
The Heckler Koch VP70 was the first pistol to use polymer as a frame material, beating the Glock 17 to market by over a decade. For whatever reason, the VP70 just wasn’t appreciated by the shooting public. It was introduced in 1970 so you could argue that the pistol was facing some pretty stiff skepticism as a result of the M16’s abysmal initial performance in Vietnam.
Other than the material used for the frame, there wasn’t much else that was revolutionary about the VP70. Sure, there was a spring-loaded striker, but let’s face it, that has been done before. The stock that turns it into a machine pistol? The Mauser Schnellfeuer 712 already kinda did something similar.
The pistol wasn’t really adopted by anyone and as best as I can tell was largely overlooked in the gun shops during its production run.
Taurus 180 Curve:
The 180 Curve is sort of innovative and sort of not. While the outside shape is different than just about any other gun on the market, it is basically a Taurus TCP shoved in a curved frame. The gun might have been rightfully ignored, but it did take a novel approach to the struggles of trying to hide a gun with tight clothing like yoga pants or something of the like.
While there have been some guns that have changed the market as we know it like the Glock, HK USP, AR-15, the Henry Repeating Rifle, the Gatling Gun, Maxim Gun, etc. The success of the Hudson H9 tells me that there is some hope for innovative design in today’s marketplace, but how much?
Why is it that so many interesting and serviceable firearms are left to rot in the dark corners of the gun case?
Are gun buyers serious about wanting to add guns to their safe that are truly innovative or are they just looking for something to talk about?
Tell me what you think.
About Patrick R.
Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup, but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.
“I think everybody who owns a top four professional sports team just basically saw the value of their team double, at least.” – Mark Cuban , Dallas Mavericks owner The reaction from the sports world has varied .
Even though the tactic doesn’t seem to be working for Democrats, Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz today doubled down on earlier rhetoric calling the National Rifle Association “just shy” of a terrorist organization.
Reader Candles, responding to reader Ping Lin’s comments on the Petty Barbecue Tyrant story:
Ping Lin: “So the busybody harasser actually gets some social punishment instead of getting off scot-free? It’s long overdue.”
I think this is a horrible set of norms and deeply corrosive to small l liberal interactions generally. It’s basically elevating the worst kind of mob impulse…
BUT if this is where we’re going to go socially, I would like for you to explain for me what would be wrong with the following action on my part.
My wife is an English professor in a R1 university. My social circle includes a LOT of humanities and social science professors, who consider me friendly. They are not shy about loudly repeating outspoken opinions around me.
I am not, however, a white progressive. In fact, I am increasingly highly white progressive critical. I consider a lot of born again politicized wokeness as deeply illiberal and divisive.
Many of the people I know, though not all, often live up to the absolute worst caricatures conservatives repeat about arrogant, ignorant, sanctimonious, anti-christian, anti-white (though they all are white themselves), anti-rural, anti-conservative, anti-Western jackasses who have a profound contempt and moral disgust for the families who pay their bills and entrust their students with them, and who aren’t shy about using their class rooms to evangelize their politics, which are, for them, the primary arena for performing morality.
I spend a great deal of time in social gatherings biting my tongue and listening to people who really, seriously deserve a comeuppance. I probably sit through 5 or 10 stray statements per social gathering that would go viral via campusreform or other higher ed critical activist networks if I were to surreptiously record and upload them talking and verify the status of the speakers, who are all professors responsible for teaching plenty of students.
Now, I don’t do that, partially because it would be obvious it was me in smaller social gatherings, but mostly because that would be morally wrong and bad for society. I don’t think it’s the right way to deal with this problem, because any responses via social media would be highly disproportionate and unfair, and because, even though they are being jerks, they are not intending to be speaking on a public stage in that context.
But it seems to me that if we are going to abandon that older norm, of not yanking private citizens out of their local, thoughtless, private contexts and making global examples of them, then I would be a sucker to not record and share the worst of these professors to my hearts content. That would be the reasonable endpoint of all this, right?
I mean, I imagine that some people might object that, unlike the racist busybody, these professors I know aren’t actually doing anything wrong, and it would be horrible for someone like me to subject them to the whims of a hateful mob. But the magic of mob justice is, if I disagree, and I can find a mob who agrees with me, then your objections really don’t matter one whit, because this is between me, the professors I record, and the mob I can find as an audience.
JOHNSTON — Nebraska still is expressing FOMO (basically fear of missing out) over its decision to leave the Black Friday tradition it started in 1990. The topic seeped out this week with reports out of Nebraska saying new AD Bill Moos is talking with …
“[I]f the Democrats are really serious about soaking the rich, why don’t they come out in favor of replacing the income tax – which is basically a mechanism to prevent the upper-middle class from becoming wealthy – with a wealth tax? Holders of …